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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2022, 02:07:04 pm »
Here they are!
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I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline salvo

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2022, 02:58:19 pm »
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Offline The15thMember

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2022, 03:00:14 pm »
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I LOVE old posters like these!  They are so great!
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2022, 12:21:16 pm »
Another egg hatched the day after the first two, but yesterday The Brains got off the nest with the 3 chicks and didn't seem interested in setting the rest.  We candled them and it didn't look like any more were alive, so she apparently knew this and took the hatched chicks to eat and drink.  We're not exactly sure why her success wasn't higher.  She was getting off the nest a lot during the last few days, which we read isn't ideal, so maybe that was a contributing factor.  She's being such a good mom with the 3 chicks, showing them the food and water, and she got all defensive at my sister when she picked one of the chicks up and it peeped. 
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Offline gww

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2022, 01:23:08 pm »
I never had a high rate of hatch.  Maybe 50 percent.  I did have one sit 40 plus days once by putting more eggs under her due to some mistake or other and that is one of the reasons I now just buy chicks to put under them.
I do not separate my sitting hens and all the other chickens want to lay where she sits.  They sometimes do a little baby sitting.  mostly depends on which chicken is sitting.  I have had chickens make mistakes and when getting off to poop and dust, they have ended up on the wrong eggs.  Usually not too big of a problem but I keep an eye out just in case and most times there is some leeway as long as you pay attention.

Either way, I do not know why but all eggs do not hatch.
Cheers
gww

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #25 on: April 07, 2022, 01:37:33 pm »
She was getting off the nest a lot during the last few days, which we read isn't ideal, so maybe that was a contributing factor. 
I was talking to my mom about it some more, and this actually probably isn't the case.  I wasn't there for the candling, and Mom just said that only one of the unhatched eggs was even developed, so the others could have been unfertilized. 
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #26 on: April 07, 2022, 03:01:35 pm »
Any of y'all tried incubators?
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2022, 03:11:20 pm »
Any of y'all tried incubators?
Oh yeah, we've incubated lots of times.  We have a Hova Bator, and we love it, but if the hen wants to do the work for you, we figured, why not let her?  We have used the incubator when we wanted to significantly increase our flock, but we are pretty happy with the amount of chickens and how much they are laying right now, so it was a good time to experiment with hen-raised chicks.   
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #28 on: April 07, 2022, 03:41:59 pm »
We did it both way also. I found some hens make better brood hens than others. When a hen decided to set we would place fake eggs under her for a few days before placing the 'real eggs' intended for hatching. Next we placed all 12 or 14 eggs under the hen all together at one time. That way the chicks would hatch about the same time. We marked those eggs with a pencil, just placed scribbling on the egg.  Then daily gathered the fresh, unmarked eggs during incubation that the other hens might have laid in the same nest each day, helping the hen to stay organized 'so to speak'.

If we found a particular hen to be a good production hen, 'hatcher', we would gather the baby chicks 'before' the hen left the nest with her chicks and place 14 more fresh new marked eggs, allowing her to double set. This worked well and we usually had a high percentage of success in hatched chicks.

When double setting, the first chicks which were hatched where always placed in a brooder until they were big enough to fend for themselves. The last batch of hatched eggs were left for the hen.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2022, 03:59:17 pm »
We did it both way also. I found some hens make better brood hens than others. When a hen decided to set we would place fake eggs under her for a few days before placing the 'real eggs' intended for hatching. Next we placed all 12 or 14 eggs under the hen all together at one time. That way the chicks would hatch about the same time. We marked those eggs with a pencil, just placed scribbling on the egg.  Then daily gathered the fresh, unmarked eggs during incubation that the other hens might have laid in the same nest each day, helping the hen to stay organized 'so to speak'.

If we found a particular hen to be a good production hen, 'hatcher', we would gather the baby chicks 'before' the hen left the nest with her chicks and place 14 more fresh new marked eggs, allowing her to double set. This worked well and we usually had a high percentage of success in hatched chicks.

When double setting, the first chicks which were hatched where always placed in a brooder until they were big enough to fend for themselves. The last batch of hatched eggs were left for the hen.
Interesting, I've never heard of anyone doing that.  That seems like a great way to hatch a lot of chicks. 
« Last Edit: April 07, 2022, 04:00:47 pm by Ben Framed »
I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2022, 04:04:21 pm »
Yes it works very well Reagan. That's the way it was done and handed down by my family for generations...   :grin:   
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline gww

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #31 on: April 07, 2022, 04:50:26 pm »
Double hatching is hard on the momma though.  They punish themselves pretty hard while sitting.  This is especially true when most of mine want to sit as they usually start later then yours and it can be in the mid summer heat,  I have incubated but it is so much less work to not have to deal with boxes and heat lights and just let the bird do it all.  Plus she protects them from the big chicks a bit till they are all used to each other.  Plus it is just so fun to watch the momma raise them.  I love it when you take a treat out and the mom starts going crazy trying to feed the babies.  She can make a lot of noise and her excitement is contagious.

Cheers
gww

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #32 on: April 07, 2022, 05:25:47 pm »
I have had some folks triple brood but not me. I agree that one time is long and two times is the limit for me, no matter how good a hatcher she is or how early in the season it may be. Including the cool season of early Spring. 

If you will place fake eggs in the nest even before they begin sitting, making sure there is something in the nest at all times, this seems to promote earlier brooding by the hens. Getting a good jump and head start of the heat of later Spring or Summer as described. And it seems early chicks do much better than heat raised chicks for what ever the reason.

If you were to set 6 or so hens at about the same time you will have many chicks coming off at about the same time. This leaves a bunch of class mates growing up under the lights together. It's no trouble really it just depends on the individuals preference. About the time the second batch comes off the nest 'with the hen', the first batch has come along way in development.

If one chooses to go the brooder route, just make sure your brooder is well above ground for safety from predators, and have access to inside and outside life. (A roomy wooden box with a 'solid' floor, sides, and top at one end with a hanging light, plus a small opening to allow travel to and fro form an open wire running area 'outside' of the box with wire sides, solid top, and a wire floor for sanitary reasons...
Adding we always had an added access door at the rear of the brooder box. The feeder and water containers were 'inside' until the weather was warm enough to be placed on the outside bottom floor. Or until the wings had developed first feathers.

This was similar to what we had set up when raising out beagle puppies, off the ground with mama in the comfortable roomy cage with wheat straw (for the dog) until the pups were old enough to come down with mama. 

Phillip
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #33 on: April 07, 2022, 11:26:02 pm »
For years we always candle the eggs twice and removed the non fertilized ones. We never got above 50%. This year we stopped candling the eggs and we are now running at about 80% or more hatching. The last time my wife set up the incubator the turner was not work and we still had almost 80% hatch out. Go figure.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2022, 12:17:10 am »
When I was a teenager and first began using an incubator myself, I had problems with some chicks unable go get completely free from the egg, (stuck inside), and they would perish. A family member told me the problem was the eggs lacked moisture during incubation. I had followed the instruction on the Sears incubator, keeping a tray of water inside which came with the incubator.  My uncle told me that was not enough. What to do was using a spray bottle with the nozzle set to a fine a mist as possible, lightly mist the eggs during the time of heat removal and turning twice each day. This did the trick! Rarely did I have a chick that had trouble escaping the egg shell from that time forth. I hope this helps someone.

Phillip
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

Offline salvo

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2022, 10:48:24 pm »
Hi Folks,

Long story here about ducks and incubators. Please don't take offence. I live on this lot today. I bought the lot from the person who bought the lot in 1950. I asked a "local historian" if he knew anything about it. I described what was here. This is what he wrote.

BTW: The Soule family came over on the Mayflower. Many other stories about swindling Indians and the beginning of the GREAT LAND GRAB of North America. You have no idea!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Charles H. Soule's Valley Farm

Originally, I had not intended another post about ducks, but a comment by a reader on the previous post regarding the Sampson duck farm in Lakeville prompted me to consider the history of duck-raising at East Middleborough to which the reader refers.

What the reader describes in his comment are the remains of Valley Farm, the duck farm of Charles H. Soule (1871-1948). In 1963, Soule?s daughter, Alberta N. Soule described the ruins of the farm which even then was returning to forest.

There is a short lane off Cedar Street in East Middleborough (between the home of Mrs. William Kelley and that of the late Edwin E. Soule) where there are tumbled down buildings and traces of what at one time was a thriving business. The remains of an incubator cellar would tell one that it was the site of a poultry business perhaps, but it would be difficult for one who didn?t know the history to visualize the large duck farm that was operated on those eight acres of land. It is now all grown up to scrub oak, pine, and maple with a slight clearing through the center part of the acreage.

The duck farm which occupied the site was established in 1899 when Charles H. Soule acquired the former homestead of James Soule on the west side of Cedar Street just north of Soule Street as well as an eight-acre woodlot on the opposite (east) side of the road. Soule had previously engaged in duck-raising at his father Orlando Soule?s home, the distinctive brick house which stands further north on Cedar Street, and it was on the newly acquired eight-acre woodlot that he chose to establish his own business. To do so, Soule cleared the wood from the lot, and relocated a former blacksmith shop from the James Soule homestead.

[The blacksmith shop] was moved across the street and down the lane to be used for a grain shed and picking house. Later a larger building was added on top of which was a large tank building holding hundreds of gallons of water to be used all through the farm. A windmill arrangement was first used for pumping water, but sometime waster had to be pumped by hand to supplement that amount. Later a gasoline engine and an artesian well were installed.

Water was provided for the ducks through a pipe system laid all through the farm with a faucet arrangement in each pen through which the water was turned on three times each day to fill the troughs. A large horse-drawn low cart was the feeding vehicle. Several hundred pounds of ground grains and meat plus chopped cornstalks or cooked mangle beets were mixed with water and hand-mixed with a shovel and taken in the cart to be shoveled out to each pen three times each day.

Grain was bought by the carload and delivered at the East Middleborough Railroad Station. Grain was also delivered twice a week from local grain merchants in large grain trucks drawn by four horses. Mangle beets were bought by the ton from the Bridgewater State Farm and cooked in a huge iron vat. Field corn, raised on the farm, was cut while young and fed through a corn cutter to cut pieces about an inch long. These two ingredients provided the green in the feed which the ducks needed.

Each summer my father raised and marketed from 12,000 to 15,000 ducks, shipping them by express each day from the East Middleborough Station to Boston. James D. Legg, Thorndike & Gerrish, and Adams & Chapman were some of the markets in Boston with whom he did business.

Three to four pickers were employed all through the picking season. After picking, the ducks were placed in large barrels with plenty of ice, and early the following morning they were packed for market. The poultry arrived in Boston for market the morning after it was dressed.

To perpetuate the stock from year to year, three hundred breeders were kept over through the winter months, from which eggs were hatched in the incubator cellar. At first the hatching was done in small Cyphers machines operated by kerosene. Later two Candee machines were installed, each of ten thousand egg capacity. These were coal operated machines. Custom hatching was done as well as hatching for the farm. [Alberta N. Soule]

Among local farmers for whom custom hatching was done was Horace G. Case of Rock, a farmer who raised turkeys on a small scale for a number of years following 1910. Case reported in 1927: ?I hire Charles Soule to hatch the [turkey] eggs for me and this year from 194 eggs he hatched 179 poults. Two years ago he hatched 101 from 105 eggs.?

The incubator cellar on the Soule farm would have housed the hot water mammoth incubators mentioned by Alberta Soule, although the term "cellar" is somewhat misleading as often incubator cellars were built partially or even wholly above ground.  It is likely that one of the concrete slab foundations mentioned in the reader's comment on the previous post is the incubator cellar foundation, such foundations being typically of poured concrete since great amounts of moisture were employed in incubating the eggs and which would have quickly rotted a wooden floor.  Other buildings on the farm would likely have included brooder houses, fattening houses, a feed storage house or barn, and the picking or killing house previously mentioned where the ducks were prepared for market.  Water, as noted by Alberta Soule, was vital for the farm's operation, required in the incubator cellar and brooder houses for heat, the picking house for processing, and as a water supply for the ducks.

The Soules were the originators of large-scale commercial duck-raising at East Middleborough which grew to be a large enterprise in that area of Middleborough. The Middleboro Gazette in June, 1905 noted the growing business remarking that ?Middleboro is coming to the front as a duck farming country, and a profitable business is done by poultrymen in the east part of the town.? At the time, Soule and his father had hatched out some 2,500 ducks while Albert Rolland who occupied the property immediately to the south of Soule had 1,500. ?Mr. Whitworth, a recent comer to the eastern village, is another who is starting in the business on a large scale, and he has about 1,000 ducklings out already.? On nearby Fuller Street, Reverend William J. Robinson also was engaged in duck-raising. The ducks most frequently raised were white Pekins ?as their flesh is more attractive, and they find a readier sale in consequence.?

The duck-raising business at East Middleborough expanded rapidly. In 1910, ?the shipment of dressed poultry from the East Middleboro station .. was about three tons? and was expected to be exceeded the following year. By 1911, Soule was hatching 6,000 ducks per season, and in order to keep pace with his expanding business in 1914 he installed ?a mammoth incubator, holding 4,800 eggs.?

The Middleboro Gazette left a record of duck-raising from this era in its pages in 1905 which reinforces the picture provided by Alberta Soule.

The birds are grown to marketable size in about ten weeks, and during that time they are stuffed with a mash made of bran, meal, scraps, and flour. On this they thrive and fatten quickly. To handle the daily sustenance of the quackers is no small task, as may well be imagined when it is stated that at Hall & Ristine?s plant in Lakeville about three tons are fed weekly, and the Messrs. Soule feed nearly that amount to their flocks. The grain trade in these places is cared for by Bryant & Soule, who send heavily loaded teams to the duck farms two or three times a week?. A good future in the duck ? business is anticipated, and the men now engaged therein are constantly planning improvements upon their plants. Among those introduced are machines to mix the food for the ducks, while gas or steam engines or windmills are employed to draw the water for the birds. Practically all the hatching is done by incubators.  [Middleboro Gazette, ?East Middleboro?, June 9, 1905]

[Charles H. Soule] continued in the duck raising business in a large way until about 1916 or 1917. Around that time prices were not good and the profit was less. He had always raised a few hens, marketed them, and sold eggs for market; he now continued this in a larger way on the farm. He also started experimenting with the raising of turkeys, and he was one of the first to try raising them on wire to avoid the black-head disease which made raising turkey difficult. The turkey raising grew until the early forties when my father retired. He will be remembered by many as supplying the traditional bird for Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities. [Alberta N. Soule]

In 1950, Soule?s daughters, Alberta N. Soule, Marion S. Griffith and Mildred A. Soule sold the former duck farm.


Sources:Middleboro Gazette, ?East Middleboro?, June 9, 1905:1; ibid., October 6, 1911:5; ibid., January 30, 1914:1; ?Rock Poultry Farm?, November 11, 1927:3
Plymouth County Registry of Deeds 814:293; 2085:241
Soule, Alberta N. ?Three Blacksmith Shops, a Brick Yard and Shoemakers? Shops in Soule Neighborhood?, The Middleborough Antiquarian, 4:3, June, 1962, 6.
Soule, Alberta N., ?Valley Farm ? Soule Neighborhood?, The Middleborough Antiquarian, 5:3, June, 1963, 4+
Salvo

Offline Michael Bush

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2022, 03:09:16 pm »
I used to hatch my own in an incubator.  Whenever there was a brooding hen, I would put golf balls under her and when the chicks hatched I would give her all the chicks.  Usually 30 or 40.
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Offline BeeMaster2

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2022, 06:18:38 pm »
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Here are 7 of the 9 chicks that partridge hatched. One got stepped on by our horse and we put it in a cage with other young ones and its foot has now recovered and one was killed by a rooster. These chicks have been on their own for about 3 weeks now with only one actual loss. The gray hens 7 chicks are all still alive and they have been on their own for 2 weeks.
Very surprising.
Jim Altmiller

Offline The15thMember

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Re: Broody Brains
« Reply #38 on: May 23, 2022, 12:49:21 pm »
Here's an update on Brains's babies.  They are graduating to the grow-out barn this week.
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I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led.  And through the air, I am she that walks unseen.